Anarchy and Old Dogs (Dr. Siri Paiboun)

Anarchy and Old Dogs (Dr. Siri Paiboun) by Colin Cotterill Read Free Book Online

Book: Anarchy and Old Dogs (Dr. Siri Paiboun) by Colin Cotterill Read Free Book Online
Authors: Colin Cotterill
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the bottom."
    "And that is?"
    A big Dtui smile spread across her face and her rosy cheeks puffed up like the bottom of an orangutan. She read it aloud. "Reply direct to the Devil's Vagina."

    pda zareh'o rwcejw
    THE DEVIL'S VAGINA

    "The what?"
    "I just call them like I see them, boss," she said. "And that's exactly what it says."
    "What the hell is a devil's vagina? I don't understand any of it. It's even more confusing decoded. Can you make any sense out of the letters and numbers?"
    "Let's see. Inspector Dtui can do this," she said unblink-ing, still wired from the coffee and drained from the emotions of the past twenty-four hours. "Focus. This might take some time. Bear with me. What do we see here?" She was talking to herself, as Siri and Phosy could see nothing. Almost everything on the list starts with a B. Only the third line that begins with B has two letters after the number. I get a feeling that's the way in. Always look for an anomaly."
    That was where she focused her coffee buzz and where, after five minutes of staring, she had her brain wave. She turned and raised her arms to the clueless men behind her.
    "What?" Phosy asked.
    "Southeast," she said. "That's it. SE is southeast. The others are south and east. That's all it could be."
    Of course, that wasn't all it could be, but caffeine has a way of making a person see the obvious even if it isn't there.
    "So," Siri said. "Something in the east, the south, and the southeast that has numbers. Roads? Postal codes? Mountain elevation?"
    "Army units!" Phosy said. "Could it be referring to military bases?"
    Siri scoured his French vocabulary and came up with only one B.
    "Bataillon. Dtui, is it the same word in English?"
    "There wasn't a lot of military vocab in my medical textbooks, Doc. But I wouldn't put it past the French to steal words from English. Totally untrustworthy people the French."
    Siri nodded at the policeman. "What made you think of army units?"
    "Only that I know for sure the Eighth Battalion's in Sekong and the Sixth East is just outside Bolikham."
    "That's it," Dtui said. "It fits."
    Phosy was certain, too. "It won't take much to match up the rest. I've got a feeling we're on to something. What about the letters after the slash?"
    Dtui went down the list: MASS, MADB, GNKP, all the way to MAKK, but inspiration escaped her. She copied them onto a sheet of paper and went off to work on it at her desk. Phosy rode his lilac Vespa to temporary police headquarters on Sethathirat, where he could phone around to his old army colleagues. The word "classified" didn't apply in friendly, for-old-times'-sake chats. A day that hadn't exactly started with a bang for them had suddenly dawned into something exciting. Inspired by the industry of his colleagues, Siri went directly to the ward of private rooms, found one empty, and lay back on the starched sheet for a brief rest. He woke four hours later. He considered this his contribution to the project. A team needs an alert, conscious leader. To make himself even more qualified for the job, he stopped off at the canteen for noodles. These were the leadership qualities he most admired in himself.
    He reached the morgue at 1 p.m. to find his entranced colleagues swaying in front of the blackboard.
    "What have I missed?" he asked.
    They didn't even turn to look at him. He had the feeling neither had noticed his absence.
    "We've got it, Siri," Phosy said.
    "What?"
    "Your Dtui, she's a phenomenon, a genius in white. Tell him, Dtui."
    Dtui strode up to the blackboard with a fresh stick of chalk and drew a line between the first two and second two columns of letters.
    CA
    |
    BS
    MA
    |
    SS
    MA
    |
    DB
    GN
    |
    KP
    GN
    |
    SP
    CA
    |
    KK
    CA
    |
    PK
    CO
    |
    DK
    MA
    |
    SK
    MA
    |
    KK
    "It was the military reference that did it for me," she said. "Like I said, the only English I know I got from my medical studies, so I had to spend some time with my nose in the dictionary. But I wondered whether the letters ..." She jabbed at the

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